“It’s rained the last seven weekends in a row,” my husband pointed out to me the other day, maybe with an additional swear word in there. Once upon a time, in a distant galaxy (i.e., a time and place before I had a child), this might not have had much of an impact on our weekend plans. If it rained, we could just sleep in late, maybe watch a movie, or catch up on some reading. But now? It’s problematic.
First of all, we have a sporty kid, so the rain means all his Saturday baseball games are getting canceled or rescheduled, which sometimes means a Sunday double-header to make up for the missed games. Last weekend, I had to be at a baseball field at 8:15 in the morning on a Sunday. Then I had to spend the next five hours there. There was no bathroom. My bladder is the size of a walnut and has the strength of a wet, one-ply tissue (and I need my coffee at 8:15 in the morning), so that was fun.
Of course, when it rains, you can’t tell your kids to go play outside. Activities like hiking, biking, or bird-watching (no one is bird-watching with their kids, are they?!) are out. Playdates must be coordinated, and they’re happening inside. That means screens. Video games. YouTube. How about an old-fashioned board game? Haha. No.
This coming weekend, my child is supposed to go to a birthday party outside, at a ropes course. The birthday party was already rescheduled once because of the weather. My husband and I were looking forward to having a date night while our kid was at this birthday party. I guess now we can all stare at each other over a pizza while we watch even more rain fall in sheets from the sky.
What are parents supposed to do with our kids when it rains for what seems like 35 weekends in a row? There are only so many kid-friendly movies that exist! Boredom, fatigue, and irritability are all setting in — for the kids as well as the parents.
The rain is, frankly, a pain. I’m no climatologist, but I am pretty sure all this torrential rain is related to climate change. Also, I live in a 100-year-old house and we never had water in our basement until a few years ago. But now it’s a regular occurrence, so forget all that money we were planning to save for college or use for a family vacation. We have to put it into fixing our basement. I actually paid someone to install a new drain outside my house. When friends came over recently, I exclaimed, “Look at our new drain!” rather than sharing vacation photos. Every time it rains, my friends text me to ask if our house is okay.
And it’s not just the rain. Last winter, we hardly had any snow at all. How are we supposed to go sledding if there’s no snow? Our school district gave the kids back days at the end of the year because of the lack of snow days. Sure, snow days are not great for working parents, but they’re magical for kids! At least I don’t ski, because I don’t believe in spending a lot of money to be freezing cold. But if the winters keep getting warmer, I might have to take up skiing! Friends of mine have actually suggested I take up skiing just because they think it would be hilarious — until I break my leg, which I am 90% sure would happen.
Of course, the summers are getting hotter, too. What are we supposed to do? Buy popsicles in bulk? Forgo wearing clothes entirely from May through September? I already spend a small fortune on a membership for the town pool, which is compounded by the fact that they have a snack bar, and my kid manages to spend approximately $90 a week on snacks there despite my continued entreaties to bring snacks from home. At least on the bright side, I could potentially turn my basement into a swimming pool. Maybe I can even get the neighborhood kids to pay five bucks to swim in it. I could even open up my own snack bar.
As parents, we sometimes feel powerless over huge, overwhelming things like climate change. It’s hard to explain it to our kids. “Well, Johnny. We knew about it for years, except some people didn’t believe it was real and so they just did nothing about it.” It’s not Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. It’s demonstrably real — and I know I’m making rather large leaps from rainy weekends to climate change, but my point still stands. I guess we have to teach our kids to keep recycling, demonstrate being good environmental citizens by bringing our own shopping bags to the grocery store, and encourage our kids to one day vote for politicians who believe in actual science.
In the meantime, I keep hoping that one day soon we will have a weekend without a day where it rains all day long. Of course, when that happens, I have a feeling that’s the day that we will all be sick and unable to enjoy any activities outside.
Janine Annett is the author of the humor book I Am "Why Do I Need Venmo?" Years Old. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Real Simple, Parents, and many other places. She lives in New York with her husband, son, and dog.